RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As North Carolina hits the halfway point in Gov. Roy Cooper's stay-at-home order, Cooper discussed what would need to happen for officials to consider reopening the state economy and lift social distancing restrictions.
In a news conference Wednesday, Cooper said because of the current stay-at-home order, North Carolina is well-suited to handle the current number of COVID-19 cases statewide.
"North Carolina has the capacity to treat patients who contract the virus," Cooper said. "Our efforts to flatten the curve are working, and that means that we have saved lives."
However, Cooper noted that the current situation is not sustainable. "We can't stay home forever," Cooper said. "We want to get back to work."
In order to lift restrictions, Cooper said North Carolina would need to make progress in three areas:
- Testing: The governor would like to implement a more consistent testing protocol and an increase in testing capabilities. Cooper said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen is working to make sure testing is widely available, including antibody testing to see who has already been exposed to the virus.
- Contact Tracing: Health officials are trying to determine how to balance privacy while making sure anyone who comes in contact with a COVID-19 patient can be tested. Cooper said he will increase the public health workforce to allocate more people to contact tracing.
- Trends: Health officials will need to determine how COVID-19 is spreading and accelerating in North Carolina--in terms of number of cases, deaths and hospitalizations. "In order to ease restrictions, we have to see COVID-19 trends move in the right direction," Cooper said.
Cooper's stay-at-home order is set to expire April 29. The governor has not yet announced whether he will extend the order into May or June.
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